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  Metros   Mumbai  27 Dec 2018  Bhima-Koregaon violence: 20,000 messages inciting violence unearthed

Bhima-Koregaon violence: 20,000 messages inciting violence unearthed

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Dec 27, 2018, 7:05 am IST
Updated : Dec 27, 2018, 7:13 am IST

Around seven lakh people are expected to visit the spot on January 1, 2019.

 The police recently filed a chargesheet in a local court against some activists in connection with that violence.
  The police recently filed a chargesheet in a local court against some activists in connection with that violence.

Pune: The police on Wednesday claimed that it had so far unearthed more than 20,000 messages related to last year’s Bhima-Koregaon violence, all of which were of a provocative nature, inciting people by spreading false information. The police has also taken action against more than 20 persons for sending such messages.

Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural) Sandip Patil said that the social media cell of the Pune Rural police is tracking the provocative messages. “Our social media cell is identifying the social media accounts and their origins. Officials are also notifying the respective police stations and headquarters to track down such anti-social elements,” he said.

The police is also issuing notices under Section 144 of the CrPc to prevent assembly of people in the area. The police are probing the alleged naxal links to the violence that had taken place on January 1 this year during the bicentenary event, a day after the Elgar Parishad was held at Shaniwar wada in Pune.

The police recently filed a chargesheet in a local court against some activists in connection with that violence.

“Besides keeping an eye on the social media platforms, correspondence has been dispatched to naxal-infested districts, anti-naxal cells, Intelligence Bureau, ATS squads to keep the Pune Rural police informed about any possible secret meetings of naxal cadres regarding the January 1 event,” Mr Patil said.

Having learned from last year’s experience, when the cops were allegedly outnumbered by protesters, the police is taking no chances this time. The officer said deployment of police personnel in and around the victory pillar would be “ten times more” this time compared to the previous occasion. “Senior police officers from various districts and officials from various agencies will be keeping an eye on the event,” Mr Patil said.

The area around Parne village, where the British had installed a victory pillar to mark the defeat of the Peshwa’s forces in the 1818 battle, had witnessed violent caste clashes on January 1 this year during celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the village, leaving one person dead and several injured.

Cops counter social media misinformation with videos
In the run-up to the 201st anniversary of the Koregaon Bhima battle to be celebrated on January 1, the Maharashtra police has geared up to not only tackle the law and order situation on the ground, but also to counter the misinformation being spread by messages circulating on various social media platforms.

The Pune police are taking the help of prominent people from villages around Bhima-Koregaon in order to send out the message to people that they can visit Perne village on January 1 without any fear.

The Jaystambh” or the victory pillar installed by the British to mark the defeat of the Peshwa’s forces in the 1818 battle is located near Perne. Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural) Sandip Patil on Wednesday said,

“To counter the rumours and the provocative content, we are uploading brief videos of local people, including sarpanchs and some influential villagers, in which they are appealing to visitors to come on January 1 without any fear. They are ensuring that all the necessary arrangements are being done.”

In one such clip, Perne sarpanch Rupesh Thombare can be seen assuring visitors that they would be greeted with roses and water bottles on January 1.

In another video, Shikrapur village sarpanch Jayashree Bhujbal says her village is ensuring that no shops, hotels or other commercial establishments would remain shut on January 1, unlike last year.

Mr Patil said the police are looking forward to creating “harmonious atmosphere” ahead of the January 1 event.

Lakhs of dalits visit the Vijaystambh every year on January 1 to mark the victory of the British forces, comprising a large number of Mahar soldiers, over the Peshwas or Brahmin rulers in the 1818 battle.

“In the run-up to the January 1 event, sarpanchs, deputy sarpanchs, office bearers of gram panchayats of Bhima-Koregaon, Lonikand, Sanaswadi, Perne and Shikrapur are appealing through the videos that all arrangements, including food, water, transportation and parking, will be taken care of by the villagers,” the SP said.

Tags: bhima-koregaon violence, social media